Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Rookie's Guide to Self-Publishing

A Few Recommendations at a Glance:
With the above services you don't get any help.  Which means you need to have your document ready and prepared in order to upload it for publishing and distribution.

Brief History of the eBook

With the rise of eBooks in today's market a self publisher can take up 30-35% of all books sold in the US market today with 60% or more of all US book sales (both print and digital) going through online retailer Amazon.

This enables all new writer's (myself included) to publish without a third party.  The good news is you can access the same level of online retail distribution as a traditional publisher.   Which means you don't pay until your books start selling.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Publish Digitally
  • Would your readers prefer print or digital?
  • In your chosen genre is it common place for author's to release an eBook?
  • Does your eBook require a lot of colour and is it highly illustrated?
  • How are you going to reach your readers online?
The Author's that come prepared will appear more comfortable online and more likely to succeed. Once you start writing you're in it for the long haul.  If you don't already have a established presence online you could start by creating your own website.  With your website and social media accounts you can expect sales to start snowballing.

E-Publisher's and How They Work

E-publisher's aren't publisher's in the traditional sense that they used to be.  This means they don't take any responsibility for your work (e.g.Amazon).  Here are some distinguishing features below:
  • If there's no upfront fee you can expect a percentage of the sale to be taken.
  • Self-publish at will and non exclusive:  With any eBook retailer your work can be uploaded or taken down at any time.  This allows you the freedom to: change the price, cover and description.  You can also sell your work through as many retailer's as you want.
  • No technical knowledge required: Larger retailer's offer automated tools, free guides and tutorials to ensure your files are formatted correctly.
If you're approached by a traditional publishing house you don't lose any rights to the work you've written.

E-Publishing Services Categories

Services fall into one of these two categories below:
  • The single channel distributor - These retailer's (i.e. Kindle Direct Publishing, Nook Press) sell your work through only one channel or device.  They don't offer any assistance in preparing your eBook files.
  • The multiple channel distributor - They act as a middle man, by putting your book out to multiple retailer's and distributor's.  Best know of these are Draft2Digital, BookBaby and Smashwords.
Quick Note About ISBN's

Your eBook will usually get an ISBN number through most distributor's and services.  In the UK you can buy it from:
Converting Your Book

Most services will ask you to upload the appropriate format.  The type of file formats does vary from company to company though.

The most common ebook formats:
  • PDF
  • Mobi
  • EPub
You can also find a couple of useful formatting and converting tools below:
  • Calibre: Free software for conversion.
  • sigil: Free WYSIWYG both edits and formats eBooks in the EPub format.
Ebook Cover Design

Unfortunately you have no control over how your eBook cover will display.  This means it may be seen in high resolution, grayscale, colour or black and white.  You should make it readable in all sizes and show up well on low-quality mobile devices.


  1. I just wrote a pretty long first-hand piece about this if you're interested:


    1. Thanks for your comment Duke, your article is really interesting. I've bookmarked your article for future reference.